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The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon with CD (Audio): The Rise and Fall of an American Icon (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – September 2002


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Synopsis

Lenny Bruce committed his life to telling the truth - as he saw it. But the things he said infuriated those in power, which is why the authorities in the largest, most progressive cities in the USA tried relentlessly to put him in jail. To them, Lenny's words were anarchic and immoral. For his fans - the hip, the discontented, the fringe - his words were not only razor sharp but a beacon in the dark, repressed society that was the early 1960s.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x901eb294) von 5 Sternen 11 Rezensionen
23 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8fdb2138) von 5 Sternen A First Amendment Martyr 8. November 2002
Von Rob Hardy - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Lenny Bruce lived to shock people. His nightclub routines, full of the worst of the four letter words, made fun of stuff which people, especially his contemporaries, were supposed to take seriously: religion, marriage, intimacy. However, _The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon_ (Sourcebooks) by Ronald K. L. Collins and David M. Skover, makes plain that the iconoclastic Bruce had enormous respect for the law. His rooms were cluttered with tapes, court transcripts, and legal research efforts, and he wrote letters to judges trying to explain how his comedy was legally protected speech. He even showed civic respect for the policemen who were so often out to get him. Bruce saw that it was his job to change the law, and while he never really managed that, he made historic changes by fighting battles that those after him would not have to fight. The authors of this engrossing book have found that his story is virtually absent from the history of the First Amendment; this is a corrective.
Bruce was arrested many times for obscenity, but particularly interesting in this book is the demonstration that what often drove the arrests was irritation about his blasphemy. Bruce had routines that could bother any denomination. After mockingly accepting Jewish responsibility for killing Jesus, he roared, "We Jews killed Christ, and if he comes back, we'll kill him again!" He had a hilarious routine in which Christ and Moses come into the back of St. Patrick's Cathedral, to the embarrassment of Cardinal Spellman and Archbishop Sheen, who have to telephone the pope to explain ("_Of course they're white!_"). We have no blasphemy laws in this country (to the dismay, still, of some), but he was literally brought up on blasphemy charges. Blasphemy could not stick, but obscenity might. The problem Bruce had was that according to the Supreme Court decision in _Roth_, a work had to be taken as a whole, but the cops and prosecutors always concentrated on the specific words. The vice squad informers could, during a performance, tally every naughty synonym Bruce used for genitalia or coitus, and then present the list for consideration by the grand jury. Consideration to the sweep of Bruce's satire was seldom given.
As demonstrated in this comprehensive and well referenced volume, by two lawyers who obviously love their subject and enjoy explaining First Amendment issues, Bruce has had a resurrection. There have been plays and movies, but more importantly, as George Carlin (who was once arrested for attending a Bruce performance) said, "Lenny opened all the doors, or kicked them down." The nightclubs and comedy clubs are now open for anyone, with the sensible idea that if you might be offended by what you hear, don't pay to go in. A stand-up comic might fear bombing on stage, or getting heckled, but because Bruce has already taken the heat, no comic has to fear getting arrested. Within this book is a CD of Bruce giving some of his most famous routines, and commentary by admirers and detractors. On it, Margaret Cho, who continues in the tradition of offering outrageous satirical commentary, says that she knows part of her job, as Bruce's descendant, is to disrupt polite society, but she knows what has gone before: "I don't want to end up like him, but I want to be like him."
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HASH(0x8fdb76f0) von 5 Sternen An Amazing Look at the Life of A Groundbreaking Comedian 19. August 2002
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Not many people know of Lenny Bruce. But most people do know about Sam Kinison, George Carlin, Denis Leary, Andrew "Dice" Clay, and other caustic comedians. Without Lenny Bruce to pave the way (and in the process become a martyr to the First Amendment), it's possible that none of these performers would be around today. Lenny Bruce pioneered the world of the caustic, vulgar, frank and (often too-) honest comedian, and paid the price of his life for it. Here, in Collins and Skover's detailed account of the comedian's life, trials, incarceration, and eventual death, the spirit of Lenny Bruce is brought back to glorious life and used as an example of the dangers inherent in allowing government to decide what we should see, hear, or say. Anyone interested in this dark chapter of our First Amendment should grab this book immediately!
12 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8fc904e0) von 5 Sternen First Amendment Icon 18. September 2002
Von michael ormond - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is really an excellent book. The first 200 pages focus on the embattled comedian, his bits and his scrapes with the law. As someone who was never a Lenny Bruce fan I found this section a provocative read. However, I found the book becoming progressively more compelling as the authors get into the details of the First Amendment trials. They do a masterful job of intergrating theory with the mechanics of placing the factual "matter" (the testimony) before the finder of fact.
In its discussion of the post-death and resurrected Lenny Bruce the book ascends to its highest level. The irony of Lenny Bruce as a First Amendment icon, whose free speech is beyond challange and the political destruction of William Kuh provide brilliant insights on the vicissitudes of American popular culture since the 1960s
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8fc908c4) von 5 Sternen This book is Lenny's legal biography 20. Februar 2013
Von norm cash bukowski - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a very unusual book. By the time you are finished you will understand just about everything meaningful about Lenny Bruce's entanglements with the judicial and legal system. It is an amazingly detailed study of a very important aspect of obscenity law in this country and the cultural transformation that occurred in the US in the mid-sixties. However, it is important to understand that this is not a biography of Lenny Bruce in that much of what is important about the man is barely mentioned here. There are descriptions of his run ins with police, his financial problems, allusions to his wife and mother and other acquaintances but only as they relate to whatever legal situation being discussed. It would probably be wise to either read Albert Goldman's bio or see the movie "Swear to tell the Truth" to get a better understanding of Lenny's psyche, remarkably self destructive drug habit which really controlled his life and ultimately killed him and especially a better understanding of why the status quo went after Lenny. Yes, Lenny was a ground breaking controversial performer who used language and images that were termed "indecent" but he really got in trouble when he started to imply in a Philadelphia bust that the cops and judges were crooks who he could have bribed if he didn't refuse to be shaken down. That aspect of Lenny's troubles with cops, judges and the legal system did not get mentioned in this book, probably because it can't really be quantified. Cops and DA's went after Lenny Bruce because they thought he was a rebellious, foul mouthed junkie who needed to be put in his place. Had Lenny Bruce not been so neurotic, obsessive and addicted he might have been able to remain much more stable and rational during this process. But then he wouldn't have been Lenny Bruce.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8fc909b4) von 5 Sternen Great Book, Collins and Skover nailed it 8. März 2010
Von Josh Thomas-Urlik - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Ronald K.L. Collins and David M. Skover, the authors of "The Trials of Lenny Bruce", had a clear reason on writing a book based upon the life of Lenny Bruce and the period of time when he was prosecuted for his comedy routines. The purpose of the authors was to show how far America has come along since the 1950's. It shows that America used to take offense to almost anything that was thrown at it. The thesis shows that America was not as intimidated by the use of foul language by Lenny, but the fact that Lenny had touched base with both religion and the society in his routines. The authors have shown their intent based upon the clear fact that they stated many times in the book that they were pro-Lenny and by telling the reader that Lenny was prosecuted because of "foul-language" but in all honesty, it was because he was questioning authority. There is definitely a need for this book, because this book explains that Lenny was a true advocate of free-speech and it lets everyone know about how his trials were unfair and not legitimately based.
The authors went about their task by looking into the legal aspects of the trials. They said that the trials were not fairly judged and that the jury was not a completely fair jury. The author's evidence was reliant upon the past cases that were put forward by the Supreme Court. They also heavily relied upon what happened in Lenny's life to show
how Lenny progressed as the trials went on and how his routines changed from fairly comedic routines, to serious routines. The routines were more about society in general to begin with at first, but as Lenny's addiction to heroine increased, the comedian became more and more fazed by the trials. The author's sources were the legal documents that the Supreme Court had on Lenny Bruce, as well as other books on Lenny, movies, recordings, both published and unpublished interviews with people that were involved in either the trials that Lenny was in, or lived during the time that Lenny was alive, radio programs on Bruce, newspaper articles or reviews on Lenny, and court documents that involved the cases that Lenny had. The author's use pictures as a graphic way of seeing Lenny and getting to take a look at the guy instead of just assuming a picture into the mind. The pictures add very little to the text, though, as they are partly used for filler for the book. The authors also included an audio tape to the front of the book. The audio tape really did add to the meaning of the book, because instead of just reading about his routines, it allowed for the reader to actually listen to his routines and see what Lenny was clearly trying to state during his routines. It proved a point that in order to really know what was going on at the time, you had to listen to what Lenny was saying, and not just writing that was placed in a book. No book really can exclaim the same meaning as an audio tape can.
The author's were both successful in writing this book. They did not have to go about and write this book, but like Lenny, they wanted to change the opinions and feelings of others for Lenny. They were both graduates of law school, and are not only successful in the legal area, but they are also talented and diligent in the writing area. The
authors persuaded me to continue reading through the book, because they were able to use colorful language and the fact that they knew what they were clearly talking about. These writers were not just completely opinion based during this book, but they were also legally based in the sense that they were able to show what was legally going on during the trials, and Lenny's life. As stated before, this book had a need to be written. It had to show that Lenny was not just there to make "naughty swears" in his routines, but it showed that Lenny questioned authority, and that was what really got him into trouble. I would highly advise for people that want to read about Lenny's life to get this book. It really does show that Lenny was not just a figment of history, but that his comedy is still widely accepted today. Go pick a copy up for yourself, and see what the 1950's were really like in America.
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